Professor Carla Rinaldi is currently one of Adelaide’s Thinkers-in-Residence, bringing her expertise in Reggio Emilia education to CEFPI SA. The first of the three planned visits has been completed. Professor Rinaldi was enthused by the interdisciplinary dialogue between educators and architects that CEFPI promotes.
This visit was a fact-finding exercise to understand the education systems in South Australia and undertake a whirlwind tour of various early learning facilities including those that have already embraced Reggio Emilia principles.
The SA Chapter of CEFPI is one of fourteen Partner Reference organisations participating in roundtable discussions which will feed into the program and then liaise with Prof. Rinaldi during her residency. It was a productive meeting where she emphasised the importance of the relationship between brain and space and how the environment is an essential part of our learning.
In the interim, between Prof. Rinaldi’s first and second visits to Adelaide, a number of themes have been developed between the partner organisations. While these mainly cover pedagogical issues reflecting the interests of the educational partners, we have been able to include some elements that reflect the unique perspective CEFPI brings to this discussion, as follows:
Theme 1 - Making learning visible
- Documenting best practice / trial sites where facilities enhance student engagement.
- Transparency of the physical environments / visual connectivity between spaces.
Theme 2 - Every child as citizen
- Child and youth friendly cities. Schools as child and youth friendly communities.
- Department for Education and Child Development centre of innovation project.
Theme 3 - Workforce strategies
- Developing an understanding of spatial literacy in teacher training. Understanding how the physical environment can be used to advantage learning.
There will be ongoing discussions and workshops and our aim is for the CEFPI 2014 Australasia Region Conference in Adelaide to have a Reggio Emilia focus.
Andrew Tidswell, Alex Bennett, Deb O’Riley and John Held have been active members of the team of people involved in hosting Professor Rinaldi.